Why so many damn titles? (Or the age of the dollar sign)

Once upon a time, in a parallel dimension (otherwise known as the ‘80s), wrestling promotions ran with a main title, their secondary title, women’s (maybe), and tag titles. It was a formula and it worked. However, there were a lot of times when the main title would stay with a favorite, the kid of the promoter, or even the promoter themselves. And that was where the secondary title came from (usually a TV title or a fancy name for a title). A championship for the “worker”.

But what made these belts special were the creativity involved in designing them. Whether it was “Big Gold”, the “Ten pounds of Gold”, or the iconic WWF championship that Hogan wore.

When you see “Big Gold” You think of Ric Flair’s NWA/WCW runs. When you seen “Ten Pounds of Gold” you never think of Titus. I see pictures of the “King” Harley Race, defending it in his home territory of Kansas City. (I’m not that old, but I’m starting to show my age a little.)

By the time the 90’s rolled around the bigger promotions put out more belts…

Not for the talent…but just capitalize on the fact that kids, parents, collectors wanted to own them. Belts started popping up on TV, at house shows, even plastic replicas of the smoking skull belt. Then someone said, “More Belts, More Money!!!” Belts lost what made them special. Instead of seeing it on a champion, fans started to “own” the title. They became a little more cookie cutter like what you see in WWE today. Which is why WWE’s designs have become stale. Reused, and just unoriginal. Why?

Because money talks…

Let’s take a look at the state of the game as it stands today and why there are so many damn belts.

WWE currently has 16 belts across three brands. A&J’s belts (plug! You’re welcome!) is the exclusive dealer of WWE authentic belts. Their prices per belt start at around $450. So let’s do the math…

$450 multiplied by 16 is….$7,200. That is if you were to purchase a copy of each belt!!! $7,200 frickin’ dollars…To put that into perspective, that is the price of a lower end used car off of a lot.

Now, let’s take that $7,200 and (by the estimate Mark Henry made on a busted open segment) the 10,000 belts that WWE sold worldwide last year. That comes out be $72,000,000 my friends, of which WWE will take their cut.

WWE will keep adding titles because it makes them MONEY!!! And I know that WWE fans will cry and say that AEW does the same thing.

They do…They have 8 belts but only 2 replicas are available for sale on their site. The world title at $800 and the TNT belt for $600. Drops in the bucket. But I think AEW isn’t interested in getting into that game or else there would be more demand for it.

So why are there so many titles in WWE, AEW, and all points elsewhere? CAPITALISM!!! The monetization of the lineage of certain titles…

I listened to a caller who called into Busted Open on SiriusXM, disclose he has every replica title known to WWE modern history. His wife had given him an option for his birthday of a meet and greet or a “mystery prize”. He chose the mystery prize knowing it would be one of the new belts.

To wrap this up in a neat little bow, something as simple as championship lineage has been more or less been part of something of a cog in the capitalism machine. And fans have bought into it hook, line, and sinker. Creativity of belts has given way to creativity in marketing. As long as the desire of owning a piece of something that a fan believes is special, they will keep buying it. Which will keep WWE a big business (because they stopped being a wrestling company long ago), and you will keep being the consumer.

On a personal note, if given the choice of a belt or a personal meet and greet, I would go with the meet and greet. Belts are material, but memories last a lifetime…